Friday, January 17, 2014

My tour of Reaper Miniatures, Part 1

At the beginning of the 2013 school year my wife realized her union negotiated several furlough days into the last week of November. Sounds boring, yes, but since it coincided with Thanksgiving it meant she'd have a ten-day vacation.

We hadn't traveled outside of the state since the twins were born, so we decided to jump at the chance. Long story short, we decided to accept an invitation to visit my cousin's family in Texas. I'd never been, and my wife had only ever gone as part of a college swimming trip. Plus, I figured South was a pretty good direction to travel in late Autumn, so we booked a flight to Fort Worth.

Over the course of the Reaper Bones II kickstarter I'd noticed the company's headquarters was in Denton, Texas. Lo & behold, it was a 30 minute drive from my cousin's house.

My wife thought I was kidding when I said we had to take a tour.

The exterior of the shop looks more like a warehouse than a game store, (Probably because that's what it is) but had my wife not pointed out a few signs noting that this was the place I probably would have passed it by.
Photo taken from the Wargames and Railroads blog
Inside however is a fully functional game store, similar to many I've seen throughout the US. It had a full complement of games, dice, and HOLYCRAPTHAT'SATONOFMINIS. Seriously. Wall to wall.

(There weren't any Games Workshop inventory, but I certainly can't fault them for that.)

The cardboard boxes on the right-hand table were filled with plastic minis I'd never seen before. They appeared to be stylized grey aliens, some in sci-fi armor.  Apparently it was a commission for another gaming company that they'd produced and were sorting out before shipment.

They had every available Dark Heaven, Pathfinder, Chronoscope, Bones, etc just lined out across the wall in numerical order. The only thing they didn't have in the main room was their Warlord line. One of the workers had to run to the factory to get one that I wanted.

My wife, myself, and our 10 month old twins were all super excited to get to see where miniature magic happens*, so we asked if anyone was available to give us a tour of the factory. Fortunately one of their services guys, Matt, was kind enough to show us around. So with that we were escorted into the warehouse itself. (*enthusiasm on the part of any family members is greatly exaggerated)

The warehouse itself was all business.
These suits of armor came from fan who'd a local armorer. They're fully functional, and apparently have been worn on a few occasions
 The first place Matt took us was to the very back of the warehouse where the casting process begins. They press minis into wheels of almost gooey rubber to create molds, then vulcanize the wheels to make them as hard as car tires.
Funny story, I was asked not to take any images of a bit of proprietary swag on the table, so I carefully positioned myself so it'd be behind her arm as I took my picture, only to discover that she was reaching for a whole trey full of the same proprietary items (I shopped them out though)
This is the cast for Kargir Tundra Beast Rider from Warlord. If I remember correctly Matt said each wheel is good for about 20 "spins" so this wheel could make upwards of 100 minis before being replaced. Smaller casts that don't have a lot of width (like weapons sprues) can go for much much longer since they don't cause as much wear & tear when they're pulled from the rubber.

They had row after row of these wheels in the warehouse with their individual codes written on the side to identify what they were
That's a lot of potential minis right there.

And here's a lot of actual minis
They also had row after row of small yellow bins filled with minis waiting to be needed. I could have spent a good while peering into each bin deciding which to buy while ignoring the sticky-fingered devil on my shoulder.

More here:
Part 2: Casting & Paint
Part 3: Minis galore

8 comments:

  1. Welcome back. Thanks for the behind the scenes look!

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    1. Thanks, it has been a while since my last post. Who knew a full time job, a wife, infant twins, and taking college classes would take so much time away from my hobbies?

      ~Muninn

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  2. I was just looking at your first shot of the facility. Its not possible to get that view anymore, that's where the expansion of the building was added. Did someone else take that picture?

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    1. Yes, I'd neglected to take an actual picture of the exterior of the shop, so that picture came from Goblinminimart.com.

      It looks like it was shot a few years ago, but it was the only image I could find of the exterior.

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    2. Here is my blog and the ReaperCon thread: http://www.wargamesandrailroads.blogspot.com/2013/04/reapercon-2013-thursday-day-1.html
      Use whatever shots of the outside that you want!

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    3. I'll do just that, thanks.

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  3. Great writing and layout. It's funny I never thought that one day I would step foot in REAPER headquarters--but in 2013 right before Thanksgiving while visiting my sister in TX I went on a tour. I wanted to make a page like you have set up but with over 1k pictures I still haven't got around to it. In closing, thank you so much for posting/creating this.

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    1. What day were you there? My trip happened the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. You had to have taken a lot more pictures than I did if you walked out with over 1k.

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